This week, lawmakers focused on several major issues. Steve buenan and drew mickelson are in session yeah that you have this house and senate tackling everything from potential gas tax hikes to a state dinosaur as they’re working to balance a budget in the middle of a pandemic and obviously the rough economy. So a lot to break down drew mickelson joining us from olympia, drew so we’re, starting to hear about covet relief package coming out for the state, but that’s, not the only thing, of course that lawmakers are trying to work on. No, you know steve. This session is mostly online, a lot of sessions happening or debates happening over zoom calls, but that’s not stopping lawmakers from rolling out all kinds of legislation, and some rather controversial ones as well. Just in this past week, we heard about a new wealth tax proposal that would target the state’s 100 billionaires, including amazon’s, jeff, bezos and microsoft’s bill gates. Also, we heard that some graduation requirements for high school might be waived because of emergencies like a pandemic, and here we are another week. Another proposed gas tax hike. Lawmakers say the state needs to spend billions on road improvements and because of a u.s supreme court order. Demanding the state retrofit hundreds of bridges and roads currently blocking waterways for salmon, looking to spawn a proposal from the house of representatives last week called for a 10 cent. A gallon increase this year with another 8 cent hike in 2022 a senate proposal.
This week, though, called for a six cent, a gallon increase, which would go into effect this july and then drew a lot of controversy over this one. This bill to limit where people can visibly carry weapons. What exactly would the bill do so? It’S it’s called the open, carry act and right now it is legal for you to openly visibly carry a weapon at a demonstration or on the state capitol campus, but this bill would prohibit that you would not be able to carry openly a weapon into the state Capital, you still would have a concealed weapons. Permit holder would still be able to have their weapons. This would also apply to demonstrations anywhere in the state and you can’t open, carry under this proposal within a thousand feet of a demonstration, so some gun owners say it’s too broad and it would make law abiding gun owners less safe, seattle’s interim police chief though, and Several victims of shootings supported the bill which did pass out of committee, so it is moving along. Despite concerns, it might put the freedom of speech the first amendment over the second amendment, the right to bear arm. Do you not see a conflict of logic to support a first amendment right, you’re, introducing a bill that suspends the second amendment right? We put restrictions on amendments all the time, and this is just a logical extension of a restriction. It doesn’t suspend the second amendment right. You still have that right, you just are limited to where you can exercise it, and we already do that.
I mean right now, you can’t bring your gun into a courthouse, try it and drew we heard about police accountability bills early in this session. This is obviously a topic that a lot of people are talking about in a lot of cities, what’s happening in olympia about it now. Well, this past week, two new proposals came out. One would establish a new state agency to investigate all police, shootings and police custody related deaths. A more controversial one comes down to establishing a state de escalation standard, a statewide standard for police. It would change state law, so an officer would only be able to use force if it was deemed necessary. Current law allows it when it’s, reasonable police officer organizations testified. That would make it easier for officers to face criminal charges and would make their jobs more dangerous. Those who have been in these situations, i had a friend who was killed without saying the word. These things happen very fast. Sometimes we cannot de escalate. Sometimes we cannot take cover. Sometimes we can’t do those things we have to allow for that variability. You know each punch or kick or flashing of a gun or racial or transphobic insult sends a message that an officer cares more about exerting control through intimidation and humiliation than about protecting and serving and when those acts of violence go unpunished. A culture of impunity proliferates in law enforcement and distrust grows in community. Finally, we have to update everybody on the state dinosaur bill.
Of course, the move to name the sushiosaurus state dinosaur did pass at a committee.